Showing posts with label Baltimore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baltimore. Show all posts

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chatting with Scott Reichert about Indigo Comics

by Mike Rhode

Donna Lewis, the DC-area cartoonist behind the Reply All comic strip who suggested that our readers might be interest in the work of a fledgling company partially-based in nearby Baltimore. Since the Baltimore Comic-Con is coming up in a few days, we chatted with writer Scott Reichert about the company's first comic book which will be available at the show.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?  

My brother, Robert, and I operate a digital publishing studio called Indigo Comics and recently released our first full length book. We do superhero type stuff in the Marvel/DC tradition. Our main book, Zachariah Thorn is a macabre horror/mystery steeped in the occult.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 

We are children of the 80's.

Why are you in Baltimore now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in? 

 I live on the southwest outskirts of the city in a neighborhood called Violetville.  My brother, Robert, has been based in southern California, near Los Angeles, for the past 8 years.

How do you do your comic?  As the writer, do you do thumbnails, or a full script before passing it along to the artist? And then is the art done in traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
So the original concept for Zachariah Thorn was to do a story about a teenager who gains magical powers but who's powers change from issue to issue to, hopefully, comedic effect. The more I worked on the idea the more the task of changing the powers from issue to issue became more of a chore in my brain. Then a few years ago, around the time I posted on digital webbing and found our artist, I was feeling down about not having been doing enough work on creative projects so I told myself I need to power through a finish one project all the way to the end.

Zachariah Thorn was the most manageable story idea I had as far as the world and basic mythology were concerned. So, I abandoned the idea of the main character having a revolving door of powers and decided to set the first issue 10 years after he gained his power. That allowed me to just jump in without worrying about going through the origin, and instead pepper in clues about his origin through flashbacks and dream sequences. There are a lot of themes that I hope to explore should we have the opportunity to keep making more books. The main character is constantly at odds with himself and his struggle in dealing with his dark powers would be used as a metaphor for depression and mental illness.

As far as the nuts an bolts of my process, I like to use process flow mapping software like Visio to map the key moments in the story. Once I have those thoughts organized chronologically, I begin filling the spaces in between while scripting. I write my script up just like a film screenplay. I "cast" all of the characters in the story and send the artist pictures of the actors I would use if I were casting a movie or TV version of my book. Lastly, if I have a specific ideas in my head of how something should look, I will do a google image search and paste the image inside the script for the artist to use as reference.

Our artist Bonkz Seriosa then works with pencils and boards. He sends us the hi-res jpegs that my brother, Robert, digitally inks and colors. We have a technique to get an inked look by adjusting the value levels of the pencils, and then retouching the result.

Where did you find Bonkz?

A few years ago, after several kind of starts and stops to the comic making process, I decided I was going to press on with my goal of creating something and seeing it through to fruition. My brother Robert does a lot of work in the industry and suggested I try posting a paid job offer to I received dozens upon dozens of submissions but Bonkz's work really resonated with my tastes. I have been working with him on this project on and off for a few years now and he is a delightful fellow who is always enthusiastic and engage with the work we are doing.
Bonkz is from the Phillipines. His real first name is Jergen, but he likes to be called Bonkz and he signs his artwork that way as well. If you look closely at the last page of our book he cleverly put his name on the tombstone in the foreground as his way of signing the art.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?  

Robert is a graduate of the design program at California State University and has been illustrating since he was a child. I do not have a single artistic bone in my body.

Who are your influences?  

Joss Whedon, Robert Kirkman, and Brian K. Vaughn when it comes to writing. I've also always been a big fan of Terry Dodson, Tony Moore, John Cassaday, Ryan Ottley, and Frank Quitely to name a few artists.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?  

I would have pursued a degree is creative writing so I could sound as accomplished as all the wonderful people who have collaborated with me and helped bring this project to life! 
What work are you best-known for?  

Hopefully for Zachariah Thorn!

What work are you most proud of?  

Zachariah Thorn#1 for sure as it is our first full length release and represents several years of work finally coming to fruition. 

What would you like to do or work on in the future?  

My dream would be to build enough of an audience to simply offset the costs of creating more original books. Anything beyond that is gravy.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?  

When I have writer's block I usually take a step back from what it is I am working on for a day or two and revisit it when I am fresh. I also find it helps to move over to other projects and give them some attention for a bit.

What do you think will be the future of your field?  

Interactive/motion comics. I think if you look at what Madefire is doing you will see the future of comic books (at least in the style that we are creating). They are so immersive. I truly believe something is going to come along like The Walking Dead that is going to be a big hit in popular culture that will launch interactive/motion comics as the new standard.
by Mike Rhode

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo or others? Any comments about attending them?  
We will presenting at this years Baltimore Comic Con (September 25th, 26th, & 27th), Artist Alley Booth #A53. We are really excited. This is our first time actually presenting so we aren't sure what to expect! We plan to have printed copies of Zachariah Thorn #1, some posters, stickers, wristbands, and postcards. We may have gone a little overboard on the schwag!

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore?  
Seeing a ballgame at Camden Yards and karaoke at the Hippo before it closed.

Least favorite?  
Aside from some of the more painful realities that plague Baltimore (they are way to heavy for someone as dumb as me to speak on) I would have to say the severe lack of parking.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to? 
The Walters Art Museum for sure and Camden Yards!

How about a favorite local restaurant? 
Los Portales, best Tex Mex in the area!

Do you have a website or blog?  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Kata Kane, Baltimore's Altar Girl

by Mike Rhode

Kata Kane has returned to her Altar Girl webcomic, after a decade away from it. She's moved in the meantime from suburban DC to Baltimore, but was back in town recently for the Smudge Expo in Arlington.

 "Ashley Altars is a typical high school student, attending a prestigious Catholic school with a long history. Seth Charming is a boy who died in 1929. They are both the keepers of mysterious key necklaces, and through them Seth has been brought back from death and to Ashley's present day, assisted by the Gemini Twin angels and guardians of the keys, Sera and Cherry. Ashley now has to deal with angels, demons, and bullies... but she just wants her crush Adam Evenine to finally notice her." - Kata Kane

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I draw “shoujo manga-style” comics, and I’m best known for my original comic “Altar Girl.” My art style is really inspired by both American comics and Japanese manga influences. “Shoujo manga” means “girl’s comics” and usually have themes of school life, friendship, and romance. Someone once said my comics are like Archie and anime combined, so I think that’s a pretty good way of putting it.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I do a combination of traditional sketching with finishing done on the computer. I start out with rough
pencil sketches, scan them in, and then I ink, color, and use screentones digitally. I use a Wacom tablet, and a combination of programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Manga Studio.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in 1984 in Takoma Park. I grew up in Silver Spring!

Why are you in Baltimore now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I really like the vibe of Baltimore. It’s an interesting city with a small town feel, and a great art scene too. When I first moved here in 2009, I lived in Hampden, but I now live in Mt. Washington. All of my family is still in Silver Spring and my siblings are in DC, so I’m there plenty of weekends too!

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I didn’t go to art school, but ever since elementary school I took any art classes that I could. I always liked reading the Sunday funnies in the Washington Post while my parents read the newspaper. I tried making my own comics based off of that, and really since then everything I did was mostly self-taught and inspired by my own interest.

I was always drawing at home and writing my own stories, looking at my comic collection for references. Taking classes like Life Drawing & Design in college really helped me learn proportions and refine techniques. I feel like I learned a lot more specifics on-the-job as a graphic designer and illustrator than I did in school.

Who are your influences?

When I first read Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi as a tween, that was a game-changer for me. I already liked comics – but this was my first “manga” and I was totally drawn to the story and art style.

My biggest influence is Rumiko Takahashi. Her manga “Ranma ½” is hands down my favorite of all time, but I love everything she’s done, and especially her one-shot comics in “Rumik World.” I also really admire Chynna Clugston, the creator of “Blue Monday” and “Scooter Girl.” Her style is also an American-manga influence, and reading her published works when I was in high school & college made me feel like someday I could do the same!

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I would have pursued a full-time career as a freelancer in comics much sooner. I went to school for graphic design, and at the time I felt like comics could only be a hobby: that I couldn’t really be a success at it. But I’ve learned to measure success not by the biggest paycheck but by hard work and happiness. If I can make even one person feel inspired to keep drawing and follow their own dreams by reading my comics, that’s success to me. It sounds corny, but it’s what keeps me motivated!

What work are you best-known for?

Most know me for my webcomic Altar Girl, which I originally ran online while I was in school. I never fully finished the story back then, so in July 2012, exactly 10 years after I had published the first page of Altar Girl online, I decided to start over again, but this time using the skills I’d learned as an illustrator & graphic designer to fully pursue it. Last year I did a Kickstarter to get Book 1 printed, which was successfully funded, and I think helped some new readers discover the comic too. I’m hoping to do a Kickstarter for Book 2 this year, so keep an eye out!

What work are you most proud of?

I’m proud of Altar Girl. The comic is very much ongoing, but it’s already given me so many opportunities to meet comic creators and artists I admire, as well avid comic readers and aspiring young artists. I’m especially proud to meet the young women who come to comic cons and feel a connection with my art and my book. It’s really wonderful and also very humbling.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I’m a full time freelancer, so I want to keep working on my own comics and stories, but I also love getting opportunities to work on other comic projects I can lend my skills to - especially pencils and inking. I’d really love to work with all-ages comic publishers, and help get new and exciting titles out there for young women especially.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I like to watch or read something that inspires me. Sometimes I’ll turn to a classic comic or anime I really like, and other times I’ll try to find something new I’ve heard of or just been meaning to check out.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

I hope to see more independent artists able to create their comics and tell their stories through their own means. I think we see a lot of that in webcomics now. Self publishing can be really rewarding!

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

I’ll definitely be at SPX this fall, but sooner than that I’ll be doing some library events in DC, Creators Con (which is happening at my old high school – James Hubert Blake!) in April, and AwesomeCon end of May. I’ll also be at Baltimore Comic Con, and I’m always doing Bmore Into Comics shows, which are smaller one day shows happening at cool hang outs in Baltimore. I recently did SmudgeExpo for the first time, and I really enjoyed it!

I love the smaller shows for an all-ages crowd that encourage creativity. It’s really inspiring for me too!

What's your favorite thing about DC?

The museums, the zoo, and eating delicious food in Chinatown.

Least favorite?

Driving. I always end up getting lost and losing track of what street I’m on somehow!

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

I love the Cherry Blossom Festival, and especially the Kite Competitions by the Monument. My first job out of school was illustration and design for a kite company, so there are a few kites out in the world with my art on them! I used to do the Rokaku Battle, where you try to cut your opponent’s kite strings out of the sky using your own strings. It was a lot of fun to do, and fun to watch too when we’d inevitably lose!

I always tell friends if they can only visit one museum, make it the Museum of Natural History! I personally love going to the National Gallery.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Daikaya Ramen! I also really like brunch at Zengo on the weekends.

Do you have a website or blog?

Altar Girl’s website is, but I post on Twitter @ashleyaltars, Facebook (, and Tumblr ( too! You can find more of my illustration and design work at as well! I'm usually available for illustration commissions and more.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

March 2: Steve Brodner in Baltimore

Steve Brodner will be speaking on Johns Hopkins' Homewood Campus at 5:30 on March 2. See the image for more details.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Meet a Baltimore Cartoonist: A Chat with Spaghetti Kiss's Michael Bracco

Michael Bracco is a Baltimore-area cartoonist who often attends Washington's comics shows. He's frequently identified by his studio's nom-de-plume, Spaghetti Kiss. His comic Creators is debuting as a webcomic next month, but you can buy it in print now.
Mike Rhode: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
Michael Bracco: I’m a science fiction geek and most of what I write and draw falls into that genre.  I love drawing robots and monsters and the work revolves around that type of character design.
How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
I am a very analog artist.  I do all of my comic work in sketchbooks so that I can keep the work portable. I work in pen and ink with Zebra brush pens and Microns to do the paneling, drawing and lettering.  I do scan them and use the computer for color but tend to scan tons of watercolor washes and cut them up in Photoshop to make it feel a bit more hand done.
When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
1979.  It actually makes me sound younger to say the year than just the decade.
You attend events in Washington, but don't live here.  What neighborhood or area do you live in?
I am in Baltimore City actually and have lived there for 14 years. I moved here in '97 to go to college and never left.
What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
I went to Maryland Institute College of Art and received a BFA in illustration in 2001 and a Masters in Art Education in 2002.  Other than that my education in comics comes from years of reading them.
Who are your influences?

I do have some comic artists who are huge influences but really I am most inspired by movies.  The greatest challenge to me is to create comics that have the same sense of pacing as my favorite movies.  Movies like The Professional, Alien, 12 Monkeys, Star Wars and so many more have been my biggest sources of inspiration.
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
Part of me wishes I had got the ball rolling on my career earlier but the 6 years I spent not really getting my work out there in my twenties were the years I cut my teeth and learned the most.  I guess I wouldn’t change much of anything.  All the tough times and challenges, even the really brow beating and ego killing moments are really what ended up defining me and giving me the work ethic I needed to be successful at all.
What work are you best-known for?
Probably my Apparel line and not my comics at all.  I have a very awesome and loyal fan base for the books but the clothing line, Spaghetti Kiss gets all the attention.
What work are you most proud of?
The Novo series.  I spent almost a decade building that world and developing the story and the characters into a 6 graphic novel series.  It was the first thing I published and it will always be my baby even though it has been finished for almost 4 years. 
What would you like to do or work on in the future?
I have been working on a book for the past 2 years called The Creators and have recently decided that I am going to put it out as a web comic.  Up to this point I have always exclusively done print comics and I am really excited to start this new endeavor.
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
I just try and keep writing until I break through it.  Bad art/writing is just a necessary step in getting to good art/writing.
What do you think will be the future of your field?
I think the independent market will really open up.  The non-superhero book has risen so high in the past decade and I think creators keep bringing new ideas to the table.
What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?
TONS!  I vend at SPX, Baltimore Comic Con, MagFest, Awesome Con, Smudge, Katsucon, Anime USA, Annapolis Con, Collectors Con, Baltimore Tattoo Con to name a few. I also do a lot of craft shows like Pile of Craft, Holiday Heap, Merry Mart, Honfest, Artscape and Crafty Bastards
What's your favorite thing about DC?
The food.  There are so many great places to get a good drink and a good meal.
Least favorite?

On the surface, most of DC’s culture is based around politics and I am not a big fan of that.  It takes a while to go deeper and find the local culture of the city but when you do you get to see what makes DC really great.
What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?
I don’t know if this counts, but I love the Cherry Blossom festival. 
Do you have a website or blog?
My site is and you can find me on twitter, instagram, facebook and tumblr under spaghettikiss too!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Milestones: African-Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond opens at GEM


November 20, 2013                CONTACT:    Tatiana EL-Khouri
                                                                                                Creative Force Group
                                                                                                Geppi's Entertainment Museum



November 18, 2013 (Baltimore, Maryland): Geppi's Entertainment Museum President Melissa Geppi-Bowersox announced the Museum's collaboration with Inkpot Award recipient Michael Davis of Milestone Media on a historical exhibit featuring numerous artistic examples of African-Americans' contribution to pop culture throughout America's cultural revolution.  

The invitation-only opening night gala has been set for Friday, December 13, 2013 from 7pm- 10pm. The exhibit will officially open to the public on December 14th and run through April 2014. "We are thrilled to be showcasing such an extraordinarily diverse collection of artistic pieces in so many different mediums within the Museum," comments Melissa Geppi-Bowersox. "There are some truly amazing comics, designs, drawings, paintings and programming that have been set for this exhibit, and Geppi's Entertainment Museum is proud to be the sole exhibitor for such a terrific group of artists." 

Milestones: African-Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond will feature not only the work of mainstream Black creators, but also the work of those who are considered outside the mainstream and even some who actively avoid the spotlight. Milestones "offers many different examples of profound contributions to the comic book medium by showcasing the vital roles that Black superheroes have played in shaping the unique narrative thread of so many ongoing narratives," comments Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso.  "The true beauty of this exhibit is the moment when race and color become obsolete, and you see the creative genius of the amazing worlds established that are mainstream." Not only will the exhibit focus on the comic and art world; it will also be dedicated to the internet market, today's newest medium. Says actor/producer Orlando Jones (currently starring on the hit FOX TV show Sleepy Hollow):

"African-Americans have made an indelible mark on the pop culture and entertainment landscape in front of the camera, behind the scenes, on the stage and in the recording booth. Although not as widely known, this is equally true in the world of comic books, where a renaissance of Black writers and artists are creating new characters and telling unique stories that are reaching larger audiences than ever before. As a lifelong comic book nerd, it's my greatest pleasure to showcase the art from my digital graphic novel Tainted Love within the Milestones exhibit at Geppi's Entertainment Museum. This labor of love has enabled me to bring together some of my favorite artists who are leading the charge in creating increased diversity within the industry."

Adds director/producer/comics writer Reggie Hudlin (Django Unchained): "If comics are modern mythology, then Black participation and representation is crucial. The Milestones exhibit will document on paper those dreams through the years and give all Americans a chance to see them up close."

The exhibit will offer patrons a full spectrum of Black historical contributions made throughout comic book and graphic novel history. "From movies to film, from music to art, from graphic novels/comic books to TV, and from politics to sports, all aspects of America's pop culture contain different aspects of the African-American viewpoint," says Exhibit Curator and Milestone Media co-founder Michael Davis.  "America has changed, and the attitudes about Black people and their limitless creativity touch, embrace, or lead all aspects of culture."

"I'm especially excited that young people of color will see themselves represented in so many different ways," added Tatiana EL-Khouri, Co-Curator. "This show may well influence future careers in comics, and perhaps even fine art. We have significantly made enormous strides to find a place within society, and I'm so excited to be in these times where we are now being nationally recognized in every field. In so many ways, African-American culture has always been a part of pop culture, and curating this exhibit will be one of the most significant things that I do in my lifetime."

Adds Museum President Melissa Geppi-Bowersox, "Honestly, this is exactly what Geppi's Entertainment Museum is all about. Our focus on American pop culture really showcases one of the youngest nations in the world and shines a light on our history as well as our contributions to the international community. Milestones: African-Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond is a very important part of the fabric which makes up our country.

"With America being a dominant force in the world, we strive to continue with our exhibits highlighting every aspect of American culture—and will continue to be the leading museum in America showcasing not only who we are, but where we came from and where we're going."

For more information visit:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Atlas Returns in Baltimore

It’s easy to forget how close Baltimore really is, but it is less than an hour away and has one of America’s few comics museums. Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (aka GEM), housed in a former railroad station right outside the Camden Yards ballpark, is a magical place for comics fans. Steve Geppi is the owner of Diamond Distributors, the largest comic book distributor in the country, and his museum is a showcase for his collections. The main hallway is filled with large posters (including one for the original King Kong movie), original comics artwork, advertising signs, and a letter from Walt Disney to Mrs. George ‘Krazy Kat’ Herriman expressing condolences on her husband’s death.

The exhibit galleries tell the story of popular culture via characters, beginning in the 19th century with Palmer Cox’s Brownies (although there’s a nod to earlier history in the first one – you can see Ben Franklin’s original newspaper cartoon in it). They jump decade by decade, hitting highlights such as The Yellow Kid, Superman, Disney’s characters, Little Orphan Annie, Popeye and the like before ending with Star Wars in the 1970s. Each room is packed with toys and merchandising.

The galleries begin with one devoted to the history of the comic book which begins with early collections of comic strips from the 1900s through the ‘20s, then moves into pulps and a whole wall of Big Little Books, before showcasing Geppi’s collection of key comic books. Atlas At Last! the current temporary exhibit began in this room. Atlas was a company that barely existed from 1974-1975. It was created by Martin Goodman, the former owner of Marvel Comics (which had used the name Atlas in the 1950s), for his son Chip to run, in an attempt to outstrip his former company. As Diamond’s Scoop site notes, “By paying top rates, the company attracted creators such as Russ Heath, John Severin, Alex Toth, Walter Simonson, Ernie Colon, Neal Adams, Pat Broderick, Mike Ploog, Rich Buckler, Frank Thorne, Tony Isabella, Jeff Jones, Boris Valejo and others. One series, The Destructor, featured longtime Warren, Marvel and DC editor Archie Goodwin as its writer, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange co-creator Steve Ditko on pencils, EC veteran and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents creator Wally Wood on inks, with Marvel veteran Larry Lieber (one of the Atlas editors and Marvel impresario Stan Lee’s brother) providing the cover.” It’s worth noting that talents did not move between the major companies at the time, and one could be blackballed for doing work for a competitor.

Mark Huesman, JC Vaughn, Mike Wilbur, Philip Zolli & Mark Wheatley

The exhibit features most, if not all, of the comics, that Atlas published and some striking original art down for the books. These are drawn from the collection of Philip Zolli, the enthusiast behind The Atlas Archives website (which he started in 2003). Zolli bought the comics he could fine when they appeared originally, and has continued completing and filling out his collection over the intervening thirty-five years. Mike Wilbur (employee of Diamond International Galleries) was one of the show’s curators and provided some of the comic books on display. The other of exhibit’s two curators, J.C. Vaughn (of Gemstone Publishing), invited me to the opening of the show. Of Atlas’ enduring appeal, he told me, “I’ve worked in comics for sixteen years next month, and I freelanced for a year before that, so I’m not a novice, I’m not your average fanboy, but I was totally a geeked-out kid. I got two of the comics in a trade when I was a kid, like 1976, a year after they died, and I got so into them -- that’s the seed of the exhibit being here now.”

The Atlas line has just been relaunched by Ardden Entertainment and grandson Jason Goodman, and Vaughn says, “I think there’s a better understanding of the company now … we’re talking 72, 73 publications in 1975, and the fact that we’re still talking about them in any sense is amazing, and the fact that anyone’s bringing them back is even more amazing.”

Phil Zolli was attempting to collect his comics before there were comic book stores. “I remember there several stationary stores had the spinner racks, and they were there, and Atlas in my area got good coverage, so I was able to buy them right off the newsstand. They just struck a chord with me because all I knew at the time was Marvel and DC, and I got to be at the ground floor of a brand-new company. It was very exciting. A year later, they disappeared.” He didn’t buy all of the line at the time – Archie knock-off Binky, Gothic Romances and other magazines waited for later, as did buying original art. “Once I started the site, and I had searches out because I wanted to accumulate as much information as I could, E-bay was a great source of information and artwork that popped up. I thought, ‘This is great and relatively inexpensive. I’m going to buy it.’ Zolli’s original artwork is interspersed with other artwork, both in the main comic book exhibit room and the museum’s main hall, a weakness in the show’s design that lessens the impact of the art. Very little of the original art exists. Vaughn noted, “When people went up to the Atlas offices, after they ceased publication, there was one secretary that denied that they were ever in comics, Simonson had a whole story missing… some have cast glances at some of the last editorial employees and others have just heard that it got thrown out.” Maryland comic artist Mark Wheatley, who noted that he published the first or second story done by Howard Chaykin, said “During that period, it’s quite likely it just got tossed.” Zolli is continuing to collect the new versions of the comics, and has been buying original art from those series as well.

The second Atlas failed for a couple of reasons. Vaughn points out, “They hired Jeff Rovin from Warren [a black and white comics magazine publisher] and put him in charge of color comics; they brought in Larry Lieber who worked at the core of silver age Marvel, and put him in charge of black and white magazines…” Wheatley said of Atlas, “They looked like Marvel deliberately, and then the distributors forced them to change and not look like Marvel” while Vaughn says that “a lot of the changes were capricious like the Movie Monsters [magazine on display] originally had differently colored lettering that didn’t get lost in the background orange, but the Goodman’s came by and made them change it.” Discussing how much the comics industry has changed, Zolli says “Larry Hama was doing the second issue of Wulf, and his mother was dying, and Martin Goodman refused to push the deadline back. The guy quit right after that. A lot of people were bitter.” Distribution was a problem for the company, as other companies such as Skywald and Charlton were still fighting for space on the racks. Wilbur remembers, “The place I was buying my new comics in the ‘70s was a bookstore / newsstand place. I went in there often enough that they would let me put out the new comics when they came in. They had no say in what they got – they would just get these bundles of comics strapped together and it was just totally random. Maybe this month you might get ten copies of this title, next month you’d get two copies and the next month you’d get twenty of them.”

The failure of this newsstand distribution system is what led Geppi to begin Diamond, his distribution company – so he could get his own comic books to read. If you’re curious about a little company that didn’t matter much, or are interested in cartooning history, the museum is located at 301 W. Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-625-7060, sliding scale entry fee begins at $10 for adults.

[Corrected June 1, 2011 for the misspelling of Mr. Zolli's name as Zullo. I regret the error].

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nostalgia rears its head in Baltimore

The tabloid comic book is being reprinted and fans are getting ready.

Superman! Vs. Muhammad Ali!
By Vincent Williams
Baltimore City Paper October 20, 2010

Friday, May 07, 2010

May 22: Windup Comic Fest in Baltimore

Windup Comic Fest, Spring 2010
Saturday, May 22
2pm - 7pm

The Windup Space
12 West North Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21201-5904

More details here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

April 26: Kim Deitch at Johns Hopkins U

from Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics....

The Homewood Art Workshops wraps up its 35th anniversary celebration with a slide talk by legendary cartoonist Kim Deitch on Monday, April 26. Deitch’s talk, “The Search for Smilin’ Ed and Other Tales,” will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Room 101 of the F. Ross Jones Building, Mattin Center, on the Homewood campus at 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.

Along with Robert Crumb, Bill Griffith and Art Spiegelman, Deitch transformed the art of cartooning in the psychedelic late 1960s. Combining a love of early 20th century comic strips and animation with the media-savvy satire of mid-century MAD Magazine, these artists gave a raucously subversive jolt to a nearly moribund medium.
Deitch, 65, began doing comic strips for the New York underground newspaper, the East Village Other, in 1967. Since then, his work has appeared in dozens of publications, including RAW, Pictopia, Details, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Little Lit. Among his groundbreaking comic books and graphic novels are Hollywoodland, The Mishkin Files, A Shroud for Waldo, The Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Alias the Cat! His latest book, The Search for Smilin’ Ed, will be published by Fantagraphics in June. Deitch will sign advance copies of Smilin’ Ed at the Johns Hopkins Barnes & Noble, 3330 St. Paul Street, on Sunday, April 25, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Deitch has been recognized with the comics industry’s highest honors, including an Eisner Award, an Inkpot Award and a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in 2008. He lives in New York City with his wife, Pam.

To download images of Deitch’s work, go to:

“The Search for Smilin’ Ed and Other Tales” is co-sponsored by Homewood Art Workshops and Homewood Arts Programs. Visitor parking on campus is available in the South Garage, 3101 Wyman Park Drive, Baltimore, Md. 21211. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410-516-6705.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Brian Keene signing in Baltimore

Up to our north, we have an upcoming creator appearance, which is really to promote a horror anthology book, The New Dead, but that never stopped me personally from plopping a comic or four in front of the creator and asking for a signature!
Nationwide Signing Event

On February 16th, 2010, the day The New Dead is released, the majority
of the authors who have written stories for the book will be signing in various
locations around the country.

Baltimore, MD: Brian Keene
7 PM
Barnes & Noble, 1819 Reisterstown Rd, Baltimore, MD 21208
(410) 415-5758

Mr. Keene wrote Marvel's Dead of Night Featuring Devil-Slayer. He also edited Cemetery Dance Publications' Grave Tales.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sunday, August 09, 2009

GEM Hosts Captain Action Book, Exhibit

From Scoop - Where the Magic of Collecting Comes Alive!:

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (GEM) in Baltimore’s historic Camden Yards sports complex will host a signing on Saturday, August 15, 2009, from noon to 3:00 PM, to mark the debut of the brand new edition of the critically acclaimed Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure by Michael Eury. In addition to the author, Ed Catto and Joe Ahearn, the owners of Captain Action Enterprises, will be in attendance for the signing.

The event will also kick off a special exhibit covering the history of Captain Action, from the first action figures in the 1960s to the latest merchandise (and everything in between). The exhibit will run from August 15 through October 13, 2009.

Published by TwoMorrows Publishing, Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure chronicles the history of this quick-changing champion, including photos of virtually every Captain Action product ever released. With spotlights on Captain Action, his allies Action Boy and the Super Queens, and his arch enemy Dr. Evil, an examination of his comic book appearances, and more, nearly every facet of the character’s existence is put under the microscope. From the earliest concept stages to the multiple (and supposedly final) demises of the toy line, and from thriving collectibles market to the modern resurgence, no stone is left unturned. It is due in stores on or about August 10.

“When the first edition of Michael Eury’s superb book Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure was released, it was rightly referred to by some as a virtual ‘how to’ guide to doing a character-centric reference book. It reached longtime serious collectors, turned casual Captain Action fans into die-hard enthusiasts, and brought many new fans to the character,” said Melissa Bowersox, the museum’s Executive Vice-President. “This is the sort of project that GEM and our patrons are happy to support, and we’re also extremely happy to have the assistance of such passionate, creative fan-owners as Joe Ahearn and Ed Catto to help us present the history of this unique character.”

“We’re very happy to see Captain Action and Michael’s wonderful book given such a spectacular stage. Like many other collectors, Ed Catto and I really enjoy telling other enthusiasts about our favorite character, and this takes that enjoyment to the proverbial next level,” said Joe Ahearn, Partner of Captain Action Enterprises.

The original superhero action figure first arrived on the scene in 1966 with the ability to change into a fantastic range of other incredible heroes, including Superman, Batman, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Lone Ranger, Buck Rogers, and the Green Hornet. He took on their costumes and personas and fought the forces of evil in their places. Produced by the Ideal Toy Company and developed by Stan Weston, who had been involved in the genesis of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe just two years before, Captain Action enjoyed a fairly brief shelf life. The last of Ideal’s original production runs ended in 1968.

In that short time, though, the 12-inch action figure had also doubled for Aquaman, Flash Gordon, the Phantom, Steve Canyon, Sgt. Fury, and Tonto. He had a sidekick, Action Boy (who became Superboy, Aqualad and Robin the Boy Wonder) and a blue-skinned, bug-eyed alien arch foe named Dr. Evil (obviously years before Austin Powers fought another Dr. Evil). There were playsets, vehicles, a headquarters, flicker rings, playing cards, a Ben Cooper Halloween costume, and a fondly remembered five-issue series from DC Comics that included contributions from such legends as Wally Wood, Jim Shooter, and Gil Kane.

As the years followed, Captain Action became the purview of the collecting community. A thriving secondary market developed and kept interest in the character alive within its ranks. In 1998, thirty years after the original production run ended, Playing Mantis brought Captain Action back to the world of new toys. Although their tenure with the toy line would also end after two years, it greatly fanned the flames of interest in the character and the original collectibles, and led eventually to the formation of Captain Action Enterprises, the present day owners of the intellectual property.

The exhibit will conclude just after the Diamond Comic Distributors – Alliance Game Distributors
Retailer Summit, which will be held at the BaltimoreConvention Center, immediately across the street from GEM, October 11-13, 2009.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Baltimore's Tim Kreider in the NY Times and NPR on surviving attempted murder

Tim Kreider, whose cartoons appeared in the Baltimore City Paper until the beginning of this year, has been blogging for the NY Times. Here's links to 3 of the 4 articles (I linked to the 4th some weeks ago). The first story begins "Fourteen years ago I was stabbed in the throat."

By Tim Kreider
New York Times' Happy Days blog June 2, 2009

A Note from Tim Kreider
By Tim Kreider
New York Times' Happy Days blog June 4, 2009

Averted Vision
By Tim Kreider
New York Times' Happy Days blog August 2, 2009

And here's Tim on NPR (which ends by noting he's working on a 3rd collection of his cartoons - yay! The first two are available from Fantagraphics):

Conan, Neal. 2009.
Cartoonist Has Happy Year After Eluding Murder.
National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation (June 16).
online at

Fourteen years ago, cartoonist and author Tim Kreider was stabbed in the throat. He survived, and after his "unsuccessful murder," he wrote in a blog post for the New York Times, he wasn't unhappy for an entire year.

Kreider talks about how getting a second chance has altered his perspective on life.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Otakon starts tomorrow in Baltimore

The big anime/manga/Japanese culture fest starts at the Baltimore Convention Center on July 17th. Here's a profile and details - "Devotees of anime have a weekend of adventure at Otakon Convention," By Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun July 16, 2009.

Ooooh, Bill Plympton in Baltimore tomorrow night

For news about Plympton's July 17th appearance, see Brett D. Rogers, Baltimore Animation Examiner, Just announced - Bill Plympton to host Artscape opening night animated shorts at The Charles Theatre, July 15, 2009. Rogers has a list of all the animated shorts as well.

As an aside, these citizen-journalist pieces in the Examiner website are spreading fast. I get various alerts for comic art and a good quarter of them are probably Examiner pieces now.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

May 8, 9: Animated shorts in Baltimore

See "2009 Maryland Film Festival - Animated Shorts," Brett D. Rogers, May 7, 2009 for Rogers' picks. There's 3 films by Bill Plympton whom I always enjoy.

The official website is a bit confusing, but here's the relevant data and you can click through to buy tickets:

SHORTS: Animated Shorts
Running Time: 79 mins.

May 8, 11:30 AM Charles Theater 3
May 9, 10:00 PM Charles Theater 4

Animated American - James Baker, USA, 15 minutes
The future is about to collide with the past in this live-action/animation hybrid short. While shopping for a new mansion, Eric, a digital-loving studio executive, finds himself crossing swords with his realtor, Max, an out of work toon rabbit. Like it or not, Max will make Eric see things through the eyes of an “Animated American.”

The Cave: An adaptation of Plato's Allegory in Clay - Michael Ramsey, USA, 4 minutes
An excerpt from Plato's Republic, the 'Allegory of the Cave' is a classic commentary on the human condition – here adapted and brought to life using over 4,000 still photographs of John Grigsby's clay animation, lit by candlelight.

Dandelion Will Make You Wise - Jack Ofield, USA, 5 minutes
Life never truly ends, though only creatures and plants experience that unknowing wholeness of perpetual rebirth from season to season. To think holistically presumes the continuity of existence, presumes an appreciation of the 'la grace des grandes choses,' and presumes a child-like faith that the omega will presage a new alpha. This is the great mystery of the natural world. This is why the dandelion can make us wise.

Forestry – Woodpecker, Japan, 4 minutes
A tale of a man and woman who get in trouble with the mischief of smoke blown out of a tree’s hole in the woods.

Fruitless Efforts - Fruit of the Womb - Andrew Chesworth & Aaron Quist, USA, 5 minutes
Apple is trying to lead a normal life, but is being held back by his friends.

Horn Dog – Bill Plympton, USA, 6 minutes
This latest adventure of Plympton's plucky canine hero from Guard Dog, Guide Dog, and Hot Dog finds the beast putting the moves on an Afghan in the park.

I Am So Proud Of You – Don Hertzfeldt, USA, 22 minutes
Dark family secrets cast a shadow over Bill’s recovery in this, the second chapter to the prize-winning short Everything Will Be OK (MFF 2007).

Mexican Standoff – Bill Plympton, USA, 4 minutes
This music video for the Dutch band Parson Brown follows a three-sided love affair that goes absolutely wrong and the hearts that break along the way. Made using pencil on paper, scanned and digitally composited.

The Realm of Possibility - Gerald Guthrie, USA, 7 minutes
A digital animation based at the intersection of absurdity and logic. Deductive reasoning, as found in the syllogistic form (A is B, B is C, therefore A is C), becomes a vehicle to validate concepts that might not necessarily be true. The structure of the narrative is meant to parallel the premise of a syllogism. Many men use libraries; many libraries reference aviation; therefore, many men are pilots. In the end, navigation to another planet becomes a curious byproduct of flawed logic.

Santa: The Fascist Years – Bill Plympton, USA, 3.5 minutes
In this animated newsreel, we learn that jolly ol’ St. Nick has a dark, hidden past rooted in greed and politics. One of three new shorts from Academy Award© nominee Bill Plympton, this one featuring narration by Matthew Modine.

The View from Cleopatra's Knee - Jack Ofield, USA, 4 minutes
Across millennia, the genius of human creativity and freedom is chronically threatened by the ultimate solution to all problems: a standing army.